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34 Scottish shopworkers are assaulted every day with many more threatened and abused - Usdaw survey

Date: 16 November 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has launched Respect for Shopworkers Week with shocking statistics from the union’s Freedom From Fear Survey, which shows that in Scotland 70% of shopworkers were verbally abused, 42% were threatened and 5% were assaulted over the last 12 months.
Usdaw’s annual respect week, 13 - 19 November, is when the union’s reps and members organise awareness events as part of the Freedom from Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent verbal abuse, threats and violent attacks at work.
 
Today, Usdaw members took the campaign to an event in the Scottish Parliament hosted by Daniel Johnson MSP, who is preparing to launch a consultation on a Protection of Workers Bill, which will provide stiffer sentences for those who assault shopworkers.

Daniel Johnson MSP said: “This survey reveals that shopworkers are regularly assaulted and abused at work. Abuse can never be part of the job. My proposal would introduce new protections for shopworkers. This new survey shows how much it is needed. Usdaw’s continued work on behalf of their members through their annual Respect for Shopworkers Week is to be commended, and I hope my proposal will kickstart a conversation about safety at work across Scotland.”

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said: “Many Scottish shopworkers are on the frontline of dealing with the public and that can mean they end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault. Violence, threats and abuse against workers is one of the great scourges of our society. The statistics are shocking and show that urgent action is required.
 
“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender isn’t even charged, victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted. So our members very much welcome Daniel Johnson’s bid to provide stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, the judiciary and most importantly criminals. We hope that MSPs from all parties and the Scottish Government will give this Bill their full support.”
 
“This week our members are out campaigning on high streets, in shopping centres and stores; talking to the public and asking them to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Respect for Shopworkers Week 2017 takes place on 13-19 November. It is an annual event where shopworkers talk to the public about the problems of violence threats and abuse, asking customers to ‘keep their cool’. Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworkers not to take abuse as part of the job and report incidents to their manager.

Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2017 survey from Scottish shopworkers, based on 339 responses, show that over the last 12 months: 70.8% were verbally abused, 42.43% were threatened and 5.01% were assaulted. The final results of the 2017 survey will be published in the New Year.

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion
 

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